Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away . . .

We have been lucky and fortunate with wonderful weather throughout most of the summer. It never really got too hot or humid, which has made it very nice for all of the training I have been doing. In fact, I do not think the temps got over 90 more than 4 or 5 times this year. Almost every weekend we have had sunny and clear days, and if it has rained it seems to be later in the day.

All this changed this past week. It has been rainy, cloudy, and high humidity for over a week now. I had a very wet and humid weekend for training. 80 miles on the bike on Saturday, by myself wasn't very fun. I followed this with a 30 minute transtition run. Let's just say that I was soaked to the bone by the time I finished. I thought the sun was supposed to come out on Sunday, and it did, but not until 2pm. We had a 10/20 mile race for the MIT group that started at 7am. It rained the whole time and we had a headwind on the 2nd half of a hilly course. Again, soaked to the bone. So, I had alot of time to think about things this past weekend and my brilliant thoughts for this weekend of training? I would rather train in rain than wind, especially on the bike!

My stats for the week:
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3000 swim, hour run
Wed: 30 mile bike, 20 minute run
Thursday: 3000 swim, hour on the bike
Friday: hour run
Saturday: 83 mile bike, 30 minute run
Sunday: 10 mile race +2-3 extra running with MIT group

The following video has nothing to do with this blog entry except that I love Pre and thought this was a fun video of him! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recipe for a Perfect Ice Bath

One practice that is often utilized by endurance athletes is the ice bath.   There are lots of different theories out there on the best way to do one, in fact this article talks about many of them.  Regardless, those that practice them after a long run, long ride, or just a really hard workout, swear by them.   I am in agreement and used them quite a bit when training for my first marathon and having been using them even more as I train for the Ironman distance! 

My Recipe for the Perfect Ice Bath:
1 fully functioning bathtub
2 tired legs
1 large bowl of ice*
1 magazine or book
1 timer
2 small towels
1 large towel
1 bathrobe
1 large mocha

I like to start by filling the bathtub with the water at the coldest setting.  While the tub is filling I will gather the following: ice, magazine, towels, and timer, so that all are within reach of the tub.  When the tub is about 1/2 full I will ease myself into it.  I use one of the towels on the back of the bathtub so it isn't so cold when I sit back.  I continue to fill the bathtub with cold water until my legs are covered.

Once the legs are covered in water, I will then add the ice to the bathtub.  I keep a second towel close by so I can wipe my hands off.  I then set the timer for 10 minutes and pick up my magazine to keep me occupied until the alarm goes off! 

Once the timer goes off, get out of the tub and let the water drain out.  I then put on the bathrobe and enjoy my mocha and magazine for an additional 30 minutes or so before getting back into the shower to fully clean up after my workout! 

*The amount of ice used is often debated.  I normally just use whatever I find in the house - this amounts to 4 ice cube trays and really isn't that much, I just push it around so that it sits around the sorest part of my legs.  CT likes to stop at the store and get bags of ice, but i am not quite to this point yet! 

The following video of the Gouchers is another option for taking an ice bath and looks way more fun than my version!  Thanks Liz for showing me this video!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Knox County Bicycle Ride

First of all, I would like to give a big congrats and job well done to all of the Ironman Wisconsin Finishers last weekend.  In particular, I am happy to say that Laura, Jeremy, Natalie, and Mario all finished!  It sounded like it was a rough day for all.  Temps were close to 86 degrees mid-day, the bike course was hilly, and some had trouble because they drank too much lake water, but all were able to finish despite obstacles thrown their way!  Although not everyone met their goal, I am just happy that they all finished and none ended up in the med tent or worse before they finished the race! 

Since the majority of Team FIT participated in their big race last week, it has left just Aimee and me to continue on with our training towards our perspective races.  So, we decided to try out an established bike tour and ventured to Gambier, OH.  The route started at Kenyon College, traveled through Knox, Coshocton, and Holmes Counties.  The weather was perfect and the ride was beautiful but very hilly.  I think the hills started at about mile 1 and continued on until mile 100! 

Unfortunately the ride started off slowly, as Aimee's bike chain broke at mile 19.   Many riders passed us and one gave us a chain link to help connect the chain, but no one had a chain tool.  I had visions of this happening to us:

Finally, the sag guy, Mike, finally showed up and had a whole van full of plumbing tools, but no bike tools!  He also fully admitted he was a great plumber but didn't really know too much about bikes.   Hmm, how did he end up as our sag guy?  Fortunately he was able to pop the broken link off using some of his tools and I was able to figure out how to pop the new link back on without using a tool!! 

So, 105 miles later;  after a little delay to fix a bike, 3 stops to eat and listen to some local (blue grass) music, and re-routing after missing a turn (twice), we finally made it back to Gambier in one piece.  There was only one car left in the lot when we got back and as we were packing up our bikes, the lone rider finally appeared.  Turns out he is 80 years old and was the first "senior finisher" of TOSRV last year.  He then went on to tell us that he didn't do the full 100 on the Knox Tour this year, since he is getting a little older he decided to only do 65 instead!  I really hope that when I am 80, I am still able to ride that far - can you imagine? 

Stats for the week:
Monday: hour bike
Tuesday: 3000 swim, easy hour run
Wed: 30 mile bike, 15 minute transition run
Thurs: 3000 swim, hour run
Friday: rest
Saturday: 105 very hilly bike
Sunday: 1:45 run, 1 mile open water swim

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Injury is always something that an athlete thinks about.  How do I prevent injury?  What do I do when I have an injury?  How do I know if an injury is serious?  As a PT I deal with helping people to come back from injury on a daily basis and I still don't have the answer.  Injury can take all forms, it can affect muscles, joints, bones, or all of the above combined.  It can happen because of overuse, disuse, underuse, faulty body mechanics, faulty biomechanics, training too aggressively, not training agressively enough, in short, it can happen to anyone regardless of the sport or even how carefully you try to train. 

I have an old injury that I sustained playing soccer, many years ago.  When I was younger and felt I was much faster, I tried to keep up with everyone as I played defense.  Most of the times I could, but there was one particular guy that was much faster than me and for some reason I always ended up gaurding him, I loathed and loved trying to guard Josh!  Most of the time I was at least able to contain him, but one morning I tried to race after him and tore my left hamstring.  Fortunately, it wasn't a serious injury and I just took a few games off to let it heal and it really didn't bother me again until I started running longer distances.  Playing co-ed soccer is easy to rest because taking "a few games off" normally gives you at least 3-4 weeks of rest.  Soccer was my exercise and I did nothing outside of the games I played once or twice a week!  So, the formula of rest, ice, stretch did work really well for me at that time. 

Through the years, this old injury will reappear periodically.  I think it is my body's way of letting me know that although I did heal, it isn't quite the same as it used to be.  The first time it reappeared was when I tried training for my first 1/2 marathon.  By 3-4 miles it would bother me.  As a PT I knew to stretch, but had also forgotten the importance of strength training and training in moderation.  As I added both to my routine, the hamstring improved and I was able to finish the 1/2 marathon without an issue.  It took awhile, but as long as I didn't push it, it seemed to improve each week and I could run a little farther without pain.  There are also a few things I have learned about this injury - it doesn't like cold, it doesn't like speedwork, and it really doesn't like hill work.  As a result, I have made several adaptations to my training, such as you will see me wearing long pants when I run long much earlier than most people, I try to start all of my runs much slower to truely "warm up" and I am very conservative as I add speedwork outs and hill routine's into my workout.  I also know that if it is bothering me that I need to cut back on speedwork and hill work. 

So, this old issue has started to plague me again.  It started a little after the 1/2 IM, but a few conservative weeks and it seemed to go away.  After the 17 mile run this past weekend my left hamstring has definately become an issue and I know I need to be vigilant.  After all, the most important part of training for an event is to get to the start line healthy.  Injury has prevented more than one of my friends from participating in a race this year! 

As an endurance athlete though, this is more challenging.  It isn't like my younger years, when I could just take a "few games off."  With endurance training your base training is what allows you to continue to build and become stronger each week.  There is importance in taking rest days to allow the body to heal, but too long of a rest and you start to lose that base!  You start to worry about if I miss this workout, how can I make it up?  Or how will it affect my overall?  You start to play mind games, if I miss today's workout, how can I add it in later in the week?  Can I just break it up and add a few miles to each of my runs later in the week??  What happens to the plan next week?  Do I just do this week over or is it okay to do the plan even though it will be adding 20% more distance than this week??  Does this sound familiar to anyone else? 

So, the advice the PT in me would give is:
1) Take a few rest days:   the athlete in me says - I can't do this or I won't reach my miles for the week.  Instead, I will modify my training and takeout speedwork, hillwork first; I will decrease mileage only if the pain gets worse.  I will also try to get at least 8 hours of shut eye per night and a nap during the day if appropriate.  I will take one rest day on Friday. 
2) Lightly stretch:  This I already do on a daily basis.  I do this after everywork out.  I think stretching is important, but it needs to be done after a warmup and it needs to be light.  Stretching shouldn't hurt and I think done too aggressively, it can cause further damage. 
3) Ice:  There is something wonderful about an ice bath after a long run, definately a must.  But icing an acute injury should also be done after a short work out, which is something I don't do enough.  It is a natural anti-inflammatory and you really can't beat it. 
4) Strengthen:  The endurance athlete in me says "when do I have time to do that?  I have to fit in all my other work outs and also go to work."  Regardless, it is important and at the very least should be done once a week. 
5) Hydrate:  Sadly, this is something I don't do enough and I think it is one of the reasons that many people to get injuries.  Especially on long runs, so if you run with someone, we need to remind each other to get enough fluids, both on the runs and leading up to and post runs. 
6) Eat well:  And I don't mean gorge on brownies, pizza, and chips - as much as I would like.  Eating a balanced diet so the body gets the proper nutrients to heal and to function is important. 
7) Massage:  For a muscular injury this can be very important.  Unfortunately do to time restraints and/or finiancial this is often overlooked.  Hopefully, I will be able to work this in sometime in the next few weeks. 
So, for the next few weeks I am going to try to follow my own advice so I don't hurt myself to the point that I can't compete.  Hopefully I can contain that awful voice inside me that tries to make me do too much.  Sometimes taking a few days off is what the body needs! 

The following video is definatly not how I will do my next long distance run, but I love Kara Goucher so I couldn't help but put it in here. Some of the comments are pretty funny, too!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Do People Talk About on Long Bike Rides?

I have often wondered what people talk about on there long training rides and have tried asking CT, but he just says "Nothing really."  Seriously?  You are out on your bike with 2 to 4 other people for hours on end and you don't talk about anything?    So, does that mean that they are riding so hard that they can't talk or that he doesn't really remember what they talked about?

Today Aimee and I ventured out on our own  (the rest of our group is in Wisconsin, either competing in the IM or watching it).  We decided to try a local tour put on by the Westerville Bicycle Club, clik here for more info on the Dry Run Tour.   It was a very nice, hilly ride and we couldn't have asked for better weather.  We started out a little slow as both of us had run between 17 to 20 miles yesterday.  Our ride took us through Granville, Centerburg, Sunbury, and Galena, just to name a few.

So, what did we talk about?  Just about everything; OSU, MIT, our friends competing in IM Wisconsin, our current training plans for our IM's, our worries about our IM's, our boyfriend's, Aimee's upcoming wedding, the  Haunted Hallow, our plans for the next few weeks, and food.  We had a pretty long discussion on food, so long in fact,  that I came up with a menu to make for tonight.

 Here is the menu I came up with for today:
1) Spinach Salad
2) White Bean Chicken Chili
3) Fresh Bread with Olive Oil for Dipping
4) Wine

Thanks to Aimee, I had a very nice ride today, and a very nice supper! 

Stats for this week:
Monday: hour bike ride
Tuesday: 3200 swim, hour run
Wed: 30 mile bike, 15 minute transition run
Thursday: 65 minute hill run
Friday: rest
Saturday: 17 mile run
Sunday: 76 mile bike

Saturday, September 12, 2009

IM Wisconsin

Just wanted to wish some friends best wishes on their IM race tomorrow in Wisconsin.  This will be Laura's first IM, Jeremy and Natalie's second IM, and Mario's fifth.   Although I train with Natalie, Laura, and Jeremy, I wasn't able to get any specific time goals from them.  I think the majority of their goals are to finish the race in one piece!

Mario's goal is to finish under 10 hours so he can take an age group award and qualify to go back to Kona again.  Sidenote on this, Mario had been training with my boyfriend for years.  I have gone and watched them compete in at least 2 different IM events and countless other tri's of various distances.  After one of them Mario told us that if he ever qualified for Kona that he would pay for us to come along with him to cheer him on at the finish.  Mario qualified 2 years ago and went to Kona and we didn't get an invite.  He better watch out if he qualifies again, because I may call him out on his offer if he goes this year!  LOL! 

So, after I do my long ride tomorrow and am back home relaxing, I will be doing some cyberstalking on my laptop for a few hours at: IronmanLIVE and IM Wisconsin to follow everyone and hopefully catch a few of them live as they cross the finish line!! 

Here is just a small sampling of an Ironman Race, for those of you who have never seen one:

I hope that everyone out there racing in Wisconsin is able to compete to the best of their potential. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of feet hurting because there should be some serious ass kicking going on tomorrow! Best wishes to all of the IRONMEN!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Family Fun

My mother (Jean), my sister (Lora), my Aunt Deb, Aunt Pat, and I all went down to Hocking Hills this past weekend for some female bonding.  We went down to Canopy Tours in the Rockbridge area to do a zipline/suspension bridge course.  Click  here for more details about the actual course.
We started first, by getting fit with the appropriate gear which was necessary for safety, but not at all flattering to the female body! 
After we all had they appropriate gear, they took us to a pratice area where we learned:  how to stand up on a platform, get hooked up to the line, how to let go, how to stop, and how to pull ourselves on the line if necessary.  Once each of us was deemed competent in this we were allowed to start the tour! 

The tour actually consisted of 10 different zip lines of various heights, lengths, and speeds, with several suspension bridges and a little bit of hiking between the zip lines.  From start to finish the whole thing took about 3 hours.  Overall we all did very well, my mom had a little trouble stopping a few times and almost took out our guide, Troy, more than once.  My sister was very good at landing on the platform and "skiing" on it several feet before it stopped.  I got to be quite good at skipping up the suspension bridges, causing them to shake and bounce, much to Deb's dismay! 
A few examples of some of the suspension bridges along the course, in the background there is a cave, apparently it is very similar to Old Man's Cave but not quite as large.  This one in only about 12 feet high on the inside!
The following 2 pictures were on my favorite zipline, which went alongside the Hocking River.

Overall the trip was alot of fun and I had a great time bonding with some of the female members of my family.  I would definately do this type of trip again and would suggest it to anyone, as long as heights don't bother you! 
We all made it to the end in one piece!  Our tour guides Mark (far left) and Troy (right side) were very fun and also very amused by all the ladies in this group, I think!  We made them blush more than once!  LOL!

My stats for last week:
Monday: rest day - got a 90 minute massage
Tuesday: 2800 swim, hour run
Wed:  30 mile bike, 15 minute transtion run
Thursday: hour run, core strength
Friday: rest
Saturday: 13 mile run, 50 minutes on the trainer for a bike fitting
Sunday: 65 mile bike, 30 minute transition run

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Am Hungry

Despite my intense weekend, overall I am feeling better this week than last.  The main difference is that instead of the overwhelming fatigue I felt last week, this week it seems to be hunger.  I imagine my body is trying to make up for all of the calories I expended doing the 100 mile ride followed by the 1/2 marathon.  I can't imagine what it feels like once someone has completed a full IM!

Fortunately, with all of the training, I can eat alot more than I used to and not gain weight!  In fact, I have managed to lose weight despite my best attempt at eating everything in site.  I don't really have a plan that I am following from a dietary stand point, I am just trying to eat a variety of foods if possible.  I know that my body needs protein to help rebuild and carbs to help fuel.  So I do try to eat whole grains, fruit, veggies, nuts, etc. on a daily basis.  The protein is the hardest for me as I am not much of a meat eater.  So I have been trying to supplement by eating more beans (mostly black), greek yogurt, eggs, peanut or almond butter, and protein drinks.  I was worried about my cholesterol levels as the greek yogurt is higher in fat than other yogurts and I have been eating avocados and nuts like they are going out of style.  However, my recent physical with blood work showed that everything is perfect! 

I do eat alot of pasta because it is easy to make and can be served with a variety of things.  I also know that from a GI standpoint, my stomach can handle it pretty well.  One of the nice things that I am finding now is that they are fortifying pasta with more omega 3's, etc.  So imagine my surprise (and delight) when I found one this weekend that has 10 g of protein and 15% iron per serving!  I also found really good looking asparagus that was reasonably priced, so I decided to try this recipe last night:


Tuesday, September 1, 2009


One of my favorite meals of the day is breakfast.  On weekends I often do a light breakfast of oatmeal or peanut butter toast prior to my work out, and then come home and eat something more substantial like a fried egg and cheese sandwhich or something from First Watch with my MIT friends.  During the week I often eat a breakfast consisting of fresh berries, yogurt, and homemade granola.  Here is the recipe that I typically use:

4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup mixed nuts
1/2 cup coconut
Mix these ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with high sides.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola or veggie oil
1/4 cup water
1 TBS cinnamon
Mix these ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium to high heat.  Once boiling, remove from heat, pour over dry ingredients, and mix until all dry ingredients are fully coated with liquid mixture.  Spread the granola out onto the pan and place in the oven on middle rack.  Bake 20-30 minutes stirring half way through.  Let the granola cool completely before putting it away!